Discussions/Specialties

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Ok, I've had this question for a long time, so I wanna hear what everyone else thinks. Does a Melee specialty in "swords" count for daiklaives? If not, what possible in-game explanation could there be for that? Anyway, yeah, help. - SilverMeerKat

I don't know if you're already aware of this, but Morpheus plays with a houserule that one-handed swords and two-handed swords are different specialties, but apply to their separate kinds of daiklaves. That works okay, but then again, daiklaves aren't really swords. I mean, they are, but they're huge-ass four-foot-long enormously thick-bladed swords. It seems to me that if an axe is a different specialty from a sword, then so is a daiklave -- an axe is really just a differently shaped and slightly bigger weapon, after all, and daiklaves are a lot bigger, and often significantly differently shaped. The important things for weapon usage, like aerodynamics for example, would seem to me to be rather different for daiklaves than for your average little katana.\\

~ Shataina

I'm not so sure I see the axe/daiklaive simile. The way I always understood 'em, daiklaives were just large swords - the essence you invested into them made them so light for you that they behaved just like normal swords despite being amusingly large. It just doesn't seem that there's more difference between a straight sword and a daiklaive than there is between a slashing sword and a chopping sword. <shrug> - SilverMeerKat
I guess my point is that making a daiklave as light as a normal sword doesn't necessarily mean it acts just like a normal sword. Also, the canonical Strength minimums for daiklaves and grand daiklaves are sometimes higher than the Strength minimums for other weapons, which implies that they are at least slightly heavier due to their size. But regardless of Strength, daiklaves are still bigger, which affects more than just weight -- it also affects how efficiently you can swing it, how easy or difficult it is to avoid other objects, etc.\\

Like ... you could say that a bus is just a big car, right? And they would both use the "Drive" skill, but doesn't it seem like the bus would be a different skill, simply because of its size?\\ I'm not really sure what I think, but I can see the case, either way.\\ ~ Shataina

Yeah, that's pretty much the conclusion I've come to - who the hell knows? I'm more inclined to say that a specialty in a weapon carries over to its magical counterpart just because it seems to me that, for example, a swordmaster should be good with any sword, even a big shiny one. Anyway, yeah. - SilverMeerKat
While I'd agree with you from a reality point of view, reality doesn't much enter into Exalted. As the Book of Three Circles put it, 'And what, jumping up thirty feet and trailing white fire IS realitic?'
The core, guiding principle I've tried to use in Exalted is 'Is it cool?' If something is cool, use it. What is cool, however, is a whole nother Discussions. - DS
<grin> "Is it cool?" is a good principle. I have to say I still kinda like trying to apply realism, though. I think realism is cool, though, so ...\\

We might have to just arbitrarily pick one for this one, though, since no one real has ever wielded a daiklave, so we can't really know whether there's a "realistic" difference or not.\\ ~ Shataina

Yeah, heh, probably. I agree with DS, though, about the most important question in the game. - SilverMeerKat
Personally, Shataina, I think Morpheus misguidedly applies a desire for 'realism' onto a system that was never designed to produce such a thing at any level, and thus he's forced to do a lot of work. That said, I have a physics explanation for the daiklave phenomenon - the initial Essence commitment of the daiklave (that which makes it usable, not the material-bonus commitment) usually applies a kind of wuxia flight magic to the weapon, so its weight is drastically reduced and the laws of aerodynamics and inertia do not apply; for the wielder's intents and purposes, the daiklave behaves identically with a mortal sword of the same type. Therefore, an appropriate Specialty can apply. - willows
Hmm. On the first point, I think the word "misguided" is a little strong.\\

As to the second, I'm curious about what you think is an appropriate specialty. Do you allow a "swords" specialty in your games, or would you require something more specific (like "katanas [and therefore also 'daiklave-like katanas']")?\\ I ask this because I think that one of the reasons people tend to dislike applying the "swords" specialty to daiklaves is that it overpowers a specialty that already applies to an awful lot -- some would say most -- of Melee weapons.\\ ~ Shataina

I don't, but that's me and you're you; we are bound to have disagreements in matters of taste.\\

The Force is strong with Xyphoid's argument. However, I do require Specialties tighter than "swords" in my game ("straight sword", "chopping sword, etc. are good), though I would allow things like "Delzahn cultural weapons", which might include everything from short bows to scimitar-type swords, jambiyyas, and spears, because that's narrow and reveals character at the same time, though it's broader than a single weapon-type Spec. - willows

I just assume that if daiklaives didn't behave like swords, swordmasters wouldn't have crafted them for themselves. They'd have made smaller weapons that they could apply their skill to. I don't think 'swords' is overpowered, as such - specialties are pretty good, and you're naturally going to pick ones that are useful. Hell, 'while unarmed' is a valid Dodge specialty, and that may as well be 'while dodging' for a lot of characters.\\

~ Xyphoid

If this helps things (And it probably doesn't, but may lead to interesting new lines of debate) then Mask of Winters has a speciality in Daiklaves, which would suggest swords and Daiklaves are different (At least to me)\\

-- Darloth


This isn't exactly relevant to the original question, but it's best placed here. What are people's thoughts on the power of specialities? There is a house rule somewhere on here (which I'm going to keep bigging up, regardless of the fact that I can't remember who did it) which means you can learn as many speciailities as you like but only ever apply a +3 bonus to pool from them.

      • Thats on my House Rules Page, although I think some other people have similar house rules on their own pages. Eldmar


This gives you an incredibly powerful tool as a ST, the elite mortal blademaster who has only ever studied with the sword, will live by the sword and die by the sword has no dots in Melee. He has 3 dots in Melee: Sword instead. If he branches out into Spears he can easily buy Melee: Spear specialities to represent his new knowledge. To actually improve on his peak skills though, he is going to *have* to learn the general principles of weapon fighting represented by the Melee ability itself. Of course, any Exalts are still limited in their charm selection to what they have in their abilities, but then they are Exalts and should automatically be better than Mortals anyway. -- Somori

Two different kinds of knife can be incredibly different to handle, even though they're both pretty much the same weapon in game terms. The same goes for straight swords, slashing swords, maces, and so forth. Trying to justify the ability system in terms of real-life skil groupings doesn't work; they're too abstracted. Just try to find a solution that feels balanced and right in-game, and accept that awesome people are going to be rolling 13 dice in their field of expertise. - braincraft

I go with Braincraft and others here, pretty much, for several reasons. First of all, most of the specialties seem pretty broad in the first place; second, it's always been a symbolic thing for me. Daiklaives aren't just daiklaives, they're symbolic Super-Swords. A Grand Goremaul isn't just a helpin' heapin' of hurt roughly the size and thickness of a small oak tree, it's a symbolic super-Tetsubo/Sledge. Third, if martial arts permit the artifact versions of their weapons, why shouldn't specialties? And, finally, since most specialties represent opportunity costs, I don't want my, say, spearman players worrying about whether or not to buy up their Spear specialty because it suddenly becomes useless for 75% of the game when they're using their dire lances instead.

That being said, though, canon does seem to list towards them being separate. I checked the Aspectbooks and Cult of the Illuminated (Not the best source for mechanics usually, but the Wyld Hunt is fairly good) for info on DBs, whom, if no one else, should have concern over their specialties. Two of the AB characters had 'Daiklaives' as a specialty; one had a specialty in just a primary weapon of choice. The only character to have a generic was Mnemon Kehav in Cult of the Illuminated; she has Swords +1. But her magic weapon isn't a Daiklaive, it's a Spirit Sword. Of course, arguably, that thing doesn't have precisely standard dynamics either, but... *shrugs* I include Daiklaives under Swords, and similar. If it's a house rule, it's a house rule, and while it does explain the occasional minor bump in difference between canon characters and my own NPCs, I've hardly ever used canon characters without folding, spindling, and mutiliating their original design intent to suit my purposes anyway. -- IsawaBrian

Huh. I've always allowed weapon specialties to apply to artifact variants of the weapon in question, mostly because I see no reason not to. As has been mentioned, the combat and Ability systems both handwave so much that it seems harmless to handwave this. I do prefer, though, nested specialties - for example, "Swords 1, Daiklaves 1, Grand Daiklaves 1" - it just seems so pretty to me. I would certainly not require it, though. In making my own characters, I tend to shy away from artifact-specific specialties (save in the aforementioned nested specialties case) unless my character comes from a culture where there are enough people brandishing magical weapons for fighting styles built around the bulk of daiklaves to exist - the Realm, for example. I think a Dragon-Blooded is far more likely to have, say, "Daiklaves 3" as a specialty than a farmboy from the Threshold is, simply because one character comes from a culture where magical and nonmagical weapons exist in suffecient quantity for there to be a great distinction between the two in the minds of the wielders. - David.

I'm also happy for someone to use artifact versions of a weapon with the mortal speciality. My point was regarding the general use of abilities, such as Survival, Socialise, Bureaucracy and so on. If you have very good general survivalists, they will 2-3 dots of survival, but if you want someone to be an excellent tracker but not be quite as good at finding campsites or knowing about the properties of plants, they get 2 dots of Survival and 2 Tracking Specilalities. A marketplace trader isn't going to know anything about the ins-and-outs of Realm insurance policy but is a great haggler, so 0-1 dot of bureaucracy and 2-3 specialities in Haggling. And so on. I'm probably just being anal at this point in making sure that the dots on the sheet correspond to the characters actual abilities.
I've also had a few thoughts about giving xp discounts on raising an ability based on the breadth of specialities you have. But that comes later. -- Somori
For clarity's sake: I wasn't actually responding to you, but to the original poster. However, to address your suggestion, I agree with how you've stated it this time around. However, as to allowing no Ability dots but multiple specialty dots .. I generally dislike that. My reasoning is that one dot in an Ability, to me, represents someone who dabbles in the uses of that Ability. A farmer who takes his goods to market may not have much sense of politics, bureaucratic structure, or the way financial institutions and systems work, but he would probably have a dot in Bureaucracy, representing that he has enough knowledge to sell his goods in a manner that nets him enough income to survive, and that he knows enough about government to avoid getting in trouble (in fact, I'd say that anyone who lives in a city or nation governed by law probably has one dot in Bureaucracy, simply by virtue of knowing the law of the land and having some vague notion of how it works - on the other hand, that may very well assume a much higher rate of education than exists in cultures in Exalted). A mortal swordmaster who has studied nothing but the sword still knows the basics of footwork and reach, even when he's handling a weapon other than a sword. I would give that character at least one dot in Melee, simply to represent that he has an understanding of the core principles of armed close combat. To represent that character developing a broader understanding of an Ability that begins to subsume his Specialty, I have a houserule that permits characters to "buy out" a Specialty, effectively losing one Specialty point when an Ability is increased by at least one point, and then giving that character a discount on a later Specialty purchase (the discount not for any measure of realism, but to avoid causing players to feel penalized by choosing this option). This is mostly to help manage the three-Specialty limitation (which I like), while still allowing characters who are masters of the sword to later become masters of all weapons. - David.


I did not know where to put this question, so I am putting it here. Would it be unblanacing to change the rules so that characters can purchase as many specialties as they want, be it two or two hundred. The only limiting factor is that no individual can add more than three extra dice to a roll through the use of specialties. This can be because he uses three one-dot specialties, a two-dot and a one-dot, a three-dot, or any such combination. In addition, how much change would occur if I made it so a character's maximum amount of extra dice increased with Essence, that at the Essence 6+ it became maximum 5 dice. -Heru

While I'd not suggest limitless specialities I do have a house rule that I've been using in my long running campaign that works pretty well and is very similar to what you suggest. I allow a number of specialties equal to the characters essence. The net effect is that Mortals are weakened and Exalts are minorly strengthened. In the normal Essence range, that being three to five, you don't see much net difference. An extra two dice is change on the dollar. This may end up being a rather good buff for the Terrestrial Exalts tho, because iirc they have a dice cap of Ability+Specialty, yes? ~ SolVachel/HouseRules
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